Admissions to the Development, Ph.D. have been suspended as of spring 2019. If you have questions, please contact the Development Program

How to Apply

Prior to enrollment, students should have completed a Master's degree in a social science, preferably with a thesis requiring original research. Application requirements for the University of Wisconsin-Madison are stated in the Graduate School online application. The requirements for the Development Studies application are below.

  • Online application

  • Reason for Graduate Study.
    Applicants should identify their reasons for interest in the program, their overall research interests, and how their schooling, training and experiences have prepared them to pursue a PhD in Development Studies.  The statement should also address how a Development Studies PhD will aid the applicant in his/her career goals. Applicants should indicate their desired major discipline from among: anthropology, economics, education, geography, journalism/mass communication, political science, population health or sociology. Applicants should also select potential advisors from the list of faculty affiliated with the Development Studies Program. Use pdf format to upload to the online application.
  • Three letters of recommendation.
    Solicit detailed letters from persons who are able to judge your qualifications for graduate work in this field. In the application, you will supply their email addresses, and the Graduate School will send them instructions on how to upload their letters.
  • Transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate work.
    Upload unofficial transcripts or copies of official transcripts into the online application. The Graduate School will request official paper copies of all transcripts if you are admitted to the program.

    Your transcripts should clearly indicate the title of the degree that was completed and the date of completion. International academic records must be in the original language accompanied by an official English translation. Documents must be issued by the school Registrar.
  • Research Proposal
    Applicants must provide a research proposal. It should demonstrate the applicants’ area of interest and will be used to match accepted applicants with faculty advisors. The proposal should address an important real world problem in a specific developing or emerging area. It should demonstrate the applicants’ ability to formulate and complete a research project and their ability to write clearly.
    Proposals should be double-spaced and five to ten pages in length, excluding bibliographies and other appendices. It should include a problem statement, identify the research question(s), identify relevant studies and literature, propose appropriate methods and data to address the research question, and identify expected outcomes. Inclusion of relevant contacts, resources, or data that will facilitate the completion of the dissertation is desirable. Upload your document as a pdf.

  • Curriculum Vita.
    Upload your CV in the online application
  • Graduate Record Examination(GRE) scores are required by the Development Studies Ph.D. Program. For score reporting, use the UW-Madison institution code of 1846. No department code necessary. We do not accept GMAT scores in lieu of GRE.
  • English proficiency exam for international students
    We accept scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB), or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) This requirement is waived for students who have studied for at least 2 semesters in the U.S. or if English was the language of instruction for their undergraduate degree. For score reporting, use the UW-Madison institution code of 1846.
  • Application fee
  • Faculty Advisor
    Applicants will not be admitted unless a member of the Program Faculty agrees to serve as advisor. If the Admissions Committee judges your application favorably, you will receive a provisional admission. You should identify one or more potential advisors from the list of Faculty and include that information in your Reason for Graduate Study. Many students remain with the initial advisor; others find a more compatible match during the first semester.